Homeowners Association: “Take Down Sign Because It Violates Rules We Just Made Up”

This is not a typical post about overreach on the part of the Federal government or a state government. This is about a more local tyranny; one I suppose most Americans think is perfectly normal and right. But I think it is a part of our heritage that needs to be expunged from the national psyche.

From local KATC News:

A welcome home sign for an Acadiana sailor is still unwelcomed in one Lafayette neighborhood and the story is sparking other veterans to take action.

As we reported a Lafayette family in the Frenchman’s Creek subdivision took down a banner after a letter was sent from an attorney representing their homeowner’s association. The letter stated they had 30 days to take the sign down with little explanation as to why. Now, the association has hired a legal mediator to address the situation. That mediator issued this statement:

“The Frenchman’s Creek Homeowners Association has asked a well-respected professional mediator to contact the homeowner, Chester Pellegran, and create a dialogue in hopes of working out a solution. The association is still waiting for a response to the February 6th offer by the homeowners association for the welcome home sign to stay up a couple weeks prior to the service man’s return and stay up during his leave and to be taken down after his deployment. This proposal has been approved and sent by the homeowners association many weeks ago. No response has ever been received from Mr. Pellegran.”

But the family doesn’t understand why they can’t show their pride and support year round, and clearly, other veterans agree.


Just to recap, the only mention in the homeowners rules for signs has to deal with size requirements. We measured the sign for ourselves, it fits within those restrictions. We reached out to the attorney representing the homeowners association who said she couldn’t comment any further on the matter. Marsiglia’s family will meet with the homeowners association this weekend.

I’m not claiming here that nothing a person does on his lawn in public view can ever be a violation of neighbors’ rights in any way. What I don’t understand is why this is not a matter for courts and juries to settle through lawsuits.  It makes no sense to me that an “association” claims jurisdiction over property that you bought and paid for, and that you pay taxes to keep. As far as I can tell from the news reports, the HOA simply granted themselves the right to prohibit a sign. The rules (wherever they came from) do not forbid it. Further, it seems like a gratuitous piece of bullying to “offer” them a four-week window for the sign when they never had the right to forbid it in the first place.

But this kind of story is not uncommon.

It makes me extra angry that they are bullying a family who is waiting and worrying about a long-absent loved one in the military. But even if the sign was about something far less important, I don’t understand how something as basic as self-expression can be prohibited by committee.